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CATHERINE PONDER BOOK REVIEW

Catherine Ponder

Catherine Ponder Books Reviewed The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity (1962/1984) Catherine Ponder is widely considered one

Books Reviewed The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity (1962/1984)

Catherine Ponder is widely considered one of Amer- ica's foremost inspirational authors. She has written more than a dozen books, which include such bestsellers as her Millionaires of the Bible series. She is a minister of the non-

denominational Unity faith and has been described as ‘the Norman Vincent Peale among lady ministers.’

CATHERINE PONDER BOOK REVIEW

She has served in Unity Churches since 1956, and heads a global ministry in Palm Desert, California.

Ponder wrote her first prosperity book The Dynamic

Laws of Prosperity in the early 1960s while living in Bir- mingham, Alabama. Her life expanded dramatically whilst she was in the midst of finishing that book. She married and moved to the southwest, where her husband taught at the University of Texas.

Much later, after her husband's death, her life changed again. In the early 1970s, another move took her to San An- tonio, Texas. There she remarried and wrote a sequel to that earlier book, entitled Open Your Mind to Prosperity.

She has given lectures on the universal principles of

prosperity in most of the major cities of America (and a lot of small ones, too): from Town Hall and the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, to the Phoenix Country Club in Arizona, to the Pioneer Theater Auditorium in Reno, Nevada.

From Honolulu to New Orleans she has given inter-

views on television and radio, as well as numerous inter- views by the print media.

—Wikipedia

Bibliography

The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity (1962)

The Prosperity Secrets of the Ages (1964)

The Dynamic Laws of Healing (1966)

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INTRODUCTION

The Healing Secrets of the Ages (1967)

Pray and Grow Rich (1968)

Open Your Mind To Prosperity (1971)

The Millionaires of Genesis (1976)

The Millionaire Moses (1977)

The Millionaire Joshua (1978)

The Millionaire from Nazareth (1979)

Open Your Mind To Receive (1983, 2008)

Secret of Unlimited Prosperity (1983)

The Prospering Power of Prayer (1983)

Dare to Prosper! (1983)

The Dynamic Laws of Prayer (1987)

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The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity

Camarillo, CA: De Vorss Publications, 2006 First published in 1962 by Prentice Hall Author Copyright 1984

published in 1962 by Prentice Hall Author Copyright 1984 The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity is one

The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity is one of the few books in which all the prosperity laws are outlined and explained. Most books focus on a few only, and many recent books only upon The Law of Attraction. This makes the high value of this book together with the easy-to-read and comprehensive style and diction of the author, who gives many exam- ples out of her minister practice.

It is often experienced by authors that they write their best books after the search of a book they imagine should exist but cannot be found. So it was in he case of the pre- sent book. Catherine Ponder went through a phase of need

and hardship, after having been widowed and left with a small son to rear, and eager to learn more about the princi- ples of prosperity. As she did not find that book that she needed, she wrote it. And that was after all a very good idea. Until today, in an era where prosperity books are pro-

liferating, I haven’t found another book that compiles all the prosperity laws in one volume. Consider for example

CATHERINE PONDER BOOK REVIEW

that the recent quite well-known book, The Secret, is only about the Law of Attraction—as if that was the last word to say about prosperity, as if there were no other laws we

need to learn and apply in order to become truly prosper- ous.

Many rags-to-riches online programs follow in the same train, and one often gains the impression that their ‘prosperity laws’ are geared toward making them rich in

the first place …, while of course the contrary is true. If your desire for service is only lip-service and in truth you adhere to a quick-rich scheme, you will probably not make it through; you may have some temporary gain, but all prosperity authors absolutely agree that there is no long-

term prosperity for those folks who consider their own personal gain only instead of putting themselves at the forefront of service!

Let me first explain why this book bears the word ‘dy- namic’ in the title. Catherine Ponder explains that he word

‘dynamic’ has the same root as the word dynamite: ‘that which is dynamic is powerful, forceful, filled with energy, and leads to change.’ /5

One may also want to ask what a ‘law’ is in the sense used in this book? Some people out of the science world

tend to frown upon authors who use the word ‘law’ when they speak about non-scientific and spiritual principles. But law, as I learnt is a lawyer, is not just a parliamentary enactment for there were laws—think for example of the 10 Commandments—that were not issued by a legislative.

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Law in the general sense simply is a rule of action. It con- veys the notion of order, of something also that produces its effect over and over again, in a systematic fashion, in a

way that cannot be altered by deliberate action. Even such a mechanistic scientist as Isaac Newton talked about ‘natu- ral laws,’ which means mental or spiritual laws that do not originate from the physical plane but that produce effects on the physical plane. The author writes:

These higher mental and spiritual laws are so pow- erful that they can be used to multiply, neutralize, or

even reverse natural laws! It is when these higher

mental and spiritual laws are used by the mind of man, that they often produce results that seem mi-

raculous on the physical plane.’ /6

After this introduction and before I go into more detail, let me first list the whole set of prosperity laws here, as this

is a good way for understanding the structure of the book. In Part 1: Basic Prosperity Laws, the authors discusses the following prosperity laws:

—The Basic Law of Prosperity

—The Vacuum Law of Prosperity

—The Creative Law of Prosperity

—The Imaging Law of Prosperity

—The Prosperity Law of Command

—The Prosperity Law of Increase

In this first part, the author also discusses prosperous

attitudes toward money and how work can be a mighty

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CATHERINE PONDER BOOK REVIEW

channel for prosperity. In Part II: Other Prosperity Laws, she discusses the following laws:

—The Prosperity Law of Love and Goodwill

—The Prosperity Law of Prayer

—The Prosperity Law of Self-Confidence

—The Prosperity Law of Charm

—The Prosperity Law of Persistence

Some other principles or attitudes are treated equally

in chapters, which is why I give this overview here for the structure of the book is actually misleading as it puts up both the laws of prosperity and else certain attitudes or aptitudes, or inner powers, on the same level.

I will now walk you through the basics of this fascinat-

ing book and focus on a few remarks and quotes for each chapter.

The first thing you should know is that these prosper- ity laws build upon one another, in the order they are pre- sented in the book. The second thing is to know what the

term ‘prosperity’ actually means. The author explains that prosperity connotes abundance, and that this abundance must manifest on the three planes of life—the physical plane, the mental plane, and the spiritual plane. Right at the beginning of the book, Catherine Ponder mentions an

important obstacle to abundance: it is the belief—partly resulting from a wrong interpretation of the Bible—that abundant thinking was ‘materialistic’ thinking. She clari- fies that abundance is not equal to ‘serving mammon’

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when the focus of one’s prosperity thinking is deliberately based upon the recognition of the divine origin of it. She writes in chapter one:

The dictionary describes mammon as ‘riches re- garded as an object of worship or a false god.’ Peo-

ple serve mammon who leave God out of their fi-

nancial affairs and try to go it alone. When you real- ize that God wants you to be prosperous and that

God, as the Creator of this rich universe, is indeed the Source of your prosperity, then you are not wor-

shipping mammon. You are not making prosperity a

false gold. /16

In this sense, she writes, the Bible is a ‘prosperity text- book.’ In addition, it is important to behold that a faithful attitude toward life is not one of sacrifice, persecution and

hard times. The problem is that religion, and this is true for each and every religion after its founder passed away, has become a secularized power institution, from the feudal soci- ety of the Middle Ages until our corporate international culture. It was a strategy, and is not a virtue that millions

were led to believe that it was ‘pious to be poor,’ a belief which was of course useful in forestalling revolt in the masses. Ponder writes that some of those feudal ideas have persisted until today, but they do not reflect the order of things as established by the law of life.

The other important truth is that there are scientific rea- sons why we need to work our way through from inside out, and not the other way around. Ponder writes:

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CATHERINE PONDER BOOK REVIEW

Things cannot improve in an outer way until things

change in an inner way, because the inner processes of the mind control all the outer experiences in our

lives. If you are in the midst of apparent failure, fi-

nancial difficulties, or restlessness and dissatisfac- tion with your work, none of these conditions need

prevent you from entertaining ideas of abundance, plans for riches, and mental images of the success

which you seek. /161

Why can our mind impact upon the world, events, be-

haviors and even physical processes inside and outside our body? This is because all is connected in the universe. This was recognized by invoking the age-old idea of the ether, which is also mentioned and explained by Napoleon Hill, and besides, Charles Haanel, in his book The Master Key

System (1916) and Charles Fillmore in his book Prosperity (1936). Today science recognizes this truth under another header, namely the notion of the quantum field, quantum vacuum, akashic field, or zero-point field. But why not keeping the old terminology that was after all valid for

humanity for hundreds of years? The author writes:

Surely there is great power within and around each

of us for our use. You can release this pent-up sub- stance, energy and power within you for prosperous

living through releasing deliberate thoughts, feel- ings and mental pictures of success, prosperity and

riches. As you do so, your rich thoughts, feelings

and mental pictures are radiated outward into the rich, powerful ethers of this universe, where they

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make contact with the rich, universal substance. This

rich, universal substance is filled with divine intelli- gence and power that then moves among and works

through people, conditions and opportunities to at-

tract that which corresponds with the rich radiations that you have sent forth, and the prosperous results

then appear. /39

The Basic Law of Prosperity Catherine Ponder thinks of the basic law of prosperity

as a sort of vibration, a radiation emanating from our basic

thoughts and feelings, mental pictures and words: how-

ever we need to put our words in order for this to happen

positively, for it works both ways. Now, let us inquire why

the mind has those effects on the outside, mundane level.

The author writes that the mind is the ‘connecting link be-

tween the formed and unformed world.’ /35

The more you turn your mind in rich directions, the

less you seem to have to exert undue human effort to produce results. Work you will but it will be work

as satisfying self-expression rather than work just to survive. Your rich mind power and radiations seem

to have a way of going forth and producing right

opportunities, events and circumstances for prosper- ity and success, so that you almost seem to walk into

them without conscious effort. /38

The Vacuum Law of Prosperity This law is not mentioned as a separate prosperity law,

by prosperity authors like Napoleon Hill and Joseph Mur-

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CATHERINE PONDER BOOK REVIEW

phy, but it is well implicated in the examples they quote in their books. I found Ponder’s discourse of this law espe- cially enlightening. The basic idea is that in order to get the

good you wish for, you need to release and let go of some- thing to make room for it. Ponder remarks that ‘[n]ew sub- stances do not flow easily into a cluttered situation.’ /42

It is highly interesting that the old Chinese science of Feng Shui says precisely the same, which is why things—be

it a house, a business, or the furniture within them—have to be arranged in ways so that the flow of ch’i, which basi- cally equals the ether of Western traditional science, can flow freely, thereby making for positive change and pros- perity.

The author gives many examples from her own life that show how she used the vacuum law of prosperity to attract what she really wanted. For example, one day she wanted to replace her entire wardrobe with new clothes and used the following affirmation, declaring for each

piece of clothing mentally:

I fully and freely release you. I completely loose you

and let you go. So far as I am concerned you have serviced your purpose in my wardrobe and I no

longer need you. You are now in your perfect place.

/49

She then describes the amazing circumstances under which new clothes, or the money to buy them, came to her in almost miraculous ways. It is important that throughout

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this process, you do not talk with anybody about your

need, for talking about lack reinforces it. Finally, applying

this law strengthens our confidence in that infinite love

shall provide replacements for all and everything we sin-

cerely let go and loose:

If you learn how to form a vacuum for new good

early in your conscious development of prosperous thinking, then you do not panic at financial chal-

lenges, but know that you can and shall meet them

victoriously and be much richer in the long run for having learned how to use the invisible laws of sup-

ply to meet visible needs. /54

The Creative Law of Prosperity There are three basic steps to carry out for activating

the creative law of prosperity:

(1) Having a plan, writing out one’s desires concerning

that plan, and constantly expanding it; (2) Mentally im-

aging that plan as fulfilled; (3) Constantly affirming its

perfect fulfillment. /56

What Napoleon Hill terms as ‘your definite chief aim’,

Ponder calls ‘one big goal at a time.’ She explains that a big

goal always includes a number of small desires ‘the are

automatically fulfilled when the big one is achieved.’ /57

A very general goal to affirm would be, for example:

I desire the highest and best in life, and I now draw the highest and best to me. /58

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CATHERINE PONDER BOOK REVIEW

It is essential to fix this on paper, by writing a wish list. This is the first of several lists the author recommends to write as a matter of ‘deliberate thought and action.’ What

writing insures is that prosperity then becomes a planned result, which manifests on a consistent basis. There are two more lists that the author recommends. One is to be done daily, ideally shortly before or after breakfast. It’s a simple listing of accomplishments desired to be made during the

day, and then giving thanks for their divine fulfillment.

Another list is a problem solver. For any kind of prob- lem, write down the problem, then what you consider to be the best and highest solution—then you tear up the list and release the issue from your mind.

Another method for creative unfoldment is to write a letter to one’s guardian angel or higher self, and ask for a solution to any problem. Some people, the author reports, write such a statement fifteen times as in ancient times it was believed that the number 15 is the problem-solver

number, the number that dissolves any kind of obstruction.

Also in situations when you cannot make your affirma- tions because of the presence of others, it is recommended to write them down a number of times, and then release the issue from your mind. Releasing is very important, for

it’s the signal for your subconscious mind and higher self to take over and work out the solution to your problem. It is also important to daily revise and update these lists. Here is an example of such an affirmation:

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I give thanks for the immediate, complete, divine

fulfillment of these desires. This or something better comes forth with perfect timing, according to God’s

rich good for me. /73

The Imaging Law of Prosperity Catherine Ponder reminds us that it was the French

doctor Emile Coué who first discovered the force of imagi-

nation to be stronger than will power. She also mentions

hypnosis here, which shows that mental images produce

results in the body when and as far as we accept them to

be true.

Of course, Ponder continues, studying these laws of

prosperous thinking is not a form of hypnosis, but rather a

technique for creating sobriety in our minds, and become

aware of the negative conditioning many of us have re-

ceived, and which is unfortunately for many still what

they uphold as the only reality they know.

Mental imaging may be called an indirect method in

that it is an avoidance strategy; instead of battling with pov-

erty, failure and financial lack, we quietly, deliberately and

persistently image our good. Here belongs also the tech-

nique of fashioning a ‘wheel of fortune’ which is a circular

arrangement of images and text featuring the desires for

each area of life, and reading through it at least once a day.

It is important to use these techniques in an unselfish

manner. For example, when you desire the car your neigh-

bor is driving, and you image that car in order to attract it,

first bless your neighbor for having this car and mentally

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CATHERINE PONDER BOOK REVIEW

give him freedom, then affirm that you wish to attract this

kind of car into your live, or ‘its divine replacement.’ When

we desire things that belong to others, we need to respect

their proprietorship or we attract the contrary of what we

desire.

The Prosperity Law of Command After having made lists of your desires, and after hav-

ing imaged the outcome, it is then time to command

‘which can move the ethers into action.’ /96 This law is

based upon the perennial idea that the word has creative

power. The Genesis is based upon it, and it was taught in

ancient Egypt, India, Persia, China and Tibet that the spiri-

tual adept has to use and choose his words carefully, as

idle talk may produce unexpected negative results. The

author writes:

From counseling hundreds of people with financial

problems, I have found that 99 times out of 100 they do not solve their problems until they not only

know, but fully use the law of command. When they begin daily, consciously, and deliberately to assert

the good they want,t heir commands seem to call it

forth. /98

Before Dr. Ponder provides many examples of affirma-

tions as commands, she explains that we literally ‘make

our world’ with words, and that this law is one of the easi-

est to execute. Here is one example of such an affirmation:

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I love the highest and best in all people. I now draw

to myself the highest and best people (customers, clients, patients, etc.). /99

The Prosperity Law of Increase This law is about a personal ethics, and attitude. How

do we come over to others? This law affirms that the way

we come over to others has a final impact upon our situa-

tion in life. It means to cultivate an attitude of rich increase

toward everything and everybody—sometimes also called

a ‘prosperity mindset.’ The author explains:

As you contact others by mail, telephone and in per-

son, let your thought about them be one of increased good. Giving them the benefit of your rich thoughts

is a giant step in helping them to become that way.

They may not be consciously aware of your pros- perous thinking about them, but they will subcon-

sciously receive and be richly blessed. Often they will respond to you in some rich and happy way!

/116

This also means that when speaking of someone, speak

only in terms of their success, ignoring that person’s per-

haps unfortunate past and seeing the person as radiant

and successful. This is also valid for yourself, in talking

with yourself in a way that you are assured of your suc-

cess, and avoiding to brood over your apparent failure.

Very important in this context is to be consistent with

how you talk about your life and by all means avoid to talk

‘hard times.’ Catherine Ponder quotes from Charles Fill-

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CATHERINE PONDER BOOK REVIEW

more’s book Prosperity (1936) which I mentioned already and I may be allowed to put that quote here for it’s really important in this context:

The spiritual substance from which comes all visible wealth is never depleted. It is right with you all the

time and responds to your faith in it and your de-

mands upon it. It is not affected by your ignorant talk of hard times, though we are affected because

our thoughts and words govern our demonstration. Pour your living words of faith into the omnipresent

ethers and you will be prospered though all the

banks in the world close their doors. Turn the great energy of your thinking upon ‘plenty’ ideas and you

will have plenty regardless of what men about you are saying or doing. /125

—Charles Fillmore, Prosperity (Unity Village, MO: Unity Books, 1936), 13

There is one situation in which you need to overcome any possible disappointment you may experience because,

despite your prosperity-building work, apparently nothing is happening as a result. In such a situation you need to not consider the lack of good news as a failure. Ponder writes:

Since you have not received that thing, you can in-

stead stand firm in the faith that something much

better is on the way and will appear at the right time. When you seem to fail, remind yourself that it

is because you have not asked big enough. Expand your viewpoint and expectation, and a larger an-

swer than you originally anticipated will surely

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come. Failure is nothing but success trying to be

born in a bigger way. Most seeming failures are just installments toward victory! /127

This is very well said, I think, and it is true. I have had

plenty of situations in my life, where I realized that I had

not put my real wishes or my real desire into the focus of

my affirmations, but just ‘the next step.’ I had not wanted

to ‘ask to much,’ and therefore was too bottomline, and the

universe was unresponsive, and remained so, until that

which I actually really wanted was suddenly granted, and

realized. Then, with a really happy feeling, I had to look

back and acknowledge that I had not been bold enough to

really affirm my ultimate desire. In view of this truth, you

can actually sit back and practice patience, and keep firm

in your faith that the very best shall be given to you, not

just ‘the next step’ in the realization of your final goal.

While there is a wealth of good advice in the following

chapter, ‘Prosperous Attitudes Toward Money,’ I will focus

on Part II of the book so that this review doesn’t become

too extensive. I will thus focus only upon ‘Your Special

Powers for Prosperity’ (Chapter 15), ‘The Prosperity Law

of Self-Confidence’ (Chapter 16) and the last chapter of the

book, ‘The Prosperity Law of Persistence’ (Chapter 20).

Your Special Powers for Prosperity This chapter is by and large about extrasensory percep-

tion, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and psy-

chokinesis—psychic powers that in the meantime are rec-

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CATHERINE PONDER BOOK REVIEW

ognized by psychic research as special sensitivities that we all have, but that with most people are not sufficiently de- veloped to be consciously used and applied.

Of course, the knowledge about these inner powers is age-old, but it has been rediscovered scientifically for our time only very recently, mainly through the meticulous and courageous research publications by Dean Radin, Chief Scientist at the Institute for Noetic Sciences and Fac-

ulty Member at Sonoma University’s Faculty of Psychol- ogy.

—See my reviews of Dean Radin’s books, The Conscious Universe (1997) and Entangled Minds (2006) in my review sampler ‘The New Paradigm in Science and Systems Theory’ (2014)

To begin with, Catherine Ponder reports that the Bible gives many instances of the use of psychic powers. There seems indeed to be an incidence of telepathy involved in the episode of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman who said ‘I have no husband’ and Jesus replied:

—Thou sayest well, ‘I have no husband’, for thou hast had five husbands and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband. This hast thou said truly. (John 4:17-18)

In according with the research done on psychic pow- ers, Ponder asserts in this chapter the need for developing

these extraordinary capabilities. They are dormant with all of us but just as with our muscles, these ‘muscles of the mind’ need to be trained systematically and over a period of time so that they can be used effectively. The author then gives several positive affirmations that can help to

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awaken those powers; indeed the first step is the conscious acceptance of these superconscious talents, for as they are not mainstream knowledge, many of us are pulled away

from the need to develop them, and thus lulled into medi- ocrity. Here is one of those affirmations:

—Divine telepathy is now revealing to me all truth about my special powers for prosperity. /301

She reports she had wanted to renew the contact with a

childhood friend from whom she had not heard for several years. So she prayed ‘Divine telepathy will have to make this contact for me since I do not know where she is.’

About ten days later, she found a letter in the mail from this person, answering all the questions about her life that

had been in the author’s mind, and also giving her her new address. She further writes:

Often in the midst of a busy day, needs arise that

you do not have time to handle immediately. If you think of others involved and bless them with the

thought that Divine telepathy is revealing to them

whatever they need to know, then they will begin to telepathically receive your thoughts and respond

with appropriate actions. /302

Ponder believes that telepathy is a harmonizing power in that it ‘keeps down needless conversations, telephone

calls, letters, or fatiguing activity’ and helps us to maintain poise and accomplish essential tasks more easily.

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The second of those psychic powers is clairvoyance. The word simply means the ability to ‘seeing clearly.’ Ponder writes:

Members of the clergy in all ages have been trained to develop their clairvoyant abilities. People in an-

cient civilizations in China, Egypt, Mexico, even the

early American Indians, sought to develop their awareness of events which were happening at a dis-

tance. /305

The Bible testifies for the existence of our innate clair- voyant powers. Jesus saw Nathaniel before he came into

his presence, as Jesus meditated under a fig tree. (John 1:47) The author writes:

This is but proof that the open, receptive, believing

mind is capable of seeing things come forth from the invisible into the visible realm, when it is for a good

purpose. /Id.

The key for developing clairvoyance is astonishingly

simple. Suffices to be convinced that a heightening of our awareness of external facts and events is possible through asserting our divine nature. However, it is important at this point to be guarded from tapping into the accumu- lated negative experience of humanity, by strictly using

these powers for good purposes only, and with a positive intention! In any other case, using those powers can have embarrassing consequences for the awareness of negative events, past, present or in the future, only will clutter your

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mind and will not be likely to contribute to your prosper- ity.

The third psychic power the author focuses upon is

precognition which again is a word easy to decipher. It sim- ply means ‘to know in advance.’ We sometimes have pre- cognitive dreams, and I can testify personally for the truth of this matter for I’ve had very clear precognitive dream visions, for example regarding the fall of the Berlin wall,

about six months before it was actually demolished on No- vember 9, 1989. Back in Spring of 2001 I had a precognitive dream about the rise and the dangers of international ter- rorism, and during the Iraq war I had a clear dream vision about George W. Bush standing with his wife on board a

huge war ship, raising his arms as if asking for help, and affirming: ‘I am unable to steer this ship.’

Again, the Bible reports many examples of precogni- tion. One well-known example is when the Wise Men had been warned in a dream not to return to Herod after they

had found the Christ child but were told to return home by another route (Matthew 2:12). I myself have been warned repeatedly in dreams when I had been in danger but did not realize it. Often times, in those dreams I met a person who looked like a religious figure and who gave me pre-

cise knowledge of the circumstances that were hidden to my conscious mind, and how I could avoid the danger. In each of these cases, I had obeyed to the advice, and after a while, usually several months down the road, the religious figure again appeared in a dream vision, telling me with a

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joyous regard I had acted in the right way and that I was now out of the dangerous situation.

Our fifth psychic power for prosperity is psychokinesis,

which means to influence matter ‘kinetically,’ namely by affecting it in a way without physical contact, through the use of psychic energy.

Ponder exhibits at this point the astonishing view that while we make a distinction between living substance and

‘inanimate’ substance, we should treat all inanimate ob- jects as actually filled with consciousness. She writes:

I know of a new electric typewriter that never

worked properly because the employer who pur- chased it had not truly wanted his employee to have

that typewriter; he always found fault with it, after

resisting its original purchase. /317

Everything in your world is filled with intelligence,

even the so-called inanimate objects. Treat them in- telligently if you wish to obtain intelligent, harmo-

nious results. /Id.

Once again, the author gives an example from the Bible

for this psychic power. It is the story of Jesus to wither the fig tree by a simple verbal command. Another example is that of a friend of the author who wanted a magnolia tree to flower in time. He was told that magnolias do not bloom for the first seven years after they have been planted. So

the man constantly visualized his tree and blessed it with

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love and appreciation, every day. After only four years, the

magnolia tree burst into full bloom!

The Prosperity Law of Self-Confidence Self-Confidence is more important than any other inner

power, the author writes. It is actually the foundation of

prosperity.

As I never had a strong self-confidence, I was always

astonished about fairy tales where this quality is a constant

feat with the hero, especially when he’s a male. For exam-

ple, the Grimm tale of the Virtuous Tailor exhibits a man

who was boasting with self-confidence in a way that is al-

most boastful—in asserting he had slaughtered ‘7 with one

blow,’ as if he had done so with men, which the giant be-

lieved, while in truth he had only killed 7 flies.

This is quite an extraordinary example for the fact that

self-confidence, even if it is based upon a lie, works for

success. The only thing of importance is that we believe

that it is so, that we believe in ourselves!

In recent years, it was discovered even in education

that it is crucial for helping children to master life to let

them build a strong base of self-confidence. This was then

also expressed in the slogan ‘I Can’ as for example branded

as a proactive educational concept by some schools.

This is no more a secret these days, yet few people ob-

serve, as Catherine Ponder does in this chapter, that chil-

dren by nature have a strong self-confidence and grow self-

conscious and timid only under the yoke of an intimidat-

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ing educational paradigm that uses threat and fear to in- doctrinate them:

The truth that we are born with confidence can be viewed by the actions and reactions of most chil-

dren, before they become filled with fears, phobias, and inhibitions of thought. Children have the de-

lightful habit of confidently saying and doing what-

ever they feel led to say and do. /324

This insight was corroborated by research conducted by Anna Freud, the daughter of Sigmund Freud. During the heavy London bombings by the Germans in World War

II, children in England had been evacuated in shelters and Freud’s study was to find out how the children reacted to the immanent threat of death and pain in such an unusual situation. The results of the study, which was published in 1943 as ‘War and Children’ were quite astonishing. It was

namely found that by nature, children are not afraid of anything and cope rather well in any kind of situation, even when the danger of death is immanent as in an in- stance of a bomb in the nursery garden that could have exploded at any moment.

It was found that only those children who had fearful parents who let them stand up the entire night in the bun- ker for ‘being prepared’ were afraid and self-conscious, while those who had fearless and self-confident parents were themselves fearless and self-confident.

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There is one argument often used in moralistic educa- tion that is counterproductive in building self-confidence. It is the belief that the self-assertive person was ‘an egoist.’

However, as Ponder points out, there is a difference between self-confidence and egotism in that the egotistic person believes she runs her life herself, while the self- confident person has a spiritual vision and believes that it’s God, the Creator, or the Universe who actually runs

our lives and that we can trust in this creator force for our good, and as a basis of all our potential successes. Report- ing the story of the first official commanding general of the Hebrews, Joshua, Ponder remarks that interestingly, the word ‘success’ is only mentioned twice in the Bible, and

both times it is to be found in the Book of Joshua. A useful affirmation for building more self-confidence is:

Nothing succeeds like success. I now go from suc-

cess to greater success with God’s rich help. I give thanks that my success is big, powerful and irresisti-

ble, and that it appears now. /326

The author reports to have known several cases where

inferiority complexes had been dissolved and self-confidence restored, as the person ‘consistently filled his mind with bold, daring, reassuring affirmations.’ /327

Positive affirmations geared toward increasing self- confidence are especially useful before going to sleep, in

order to making a deep impression upon the subconscious mind. Here is one such affirmation the author presents:

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CATHERINE PONDER BOOK REVIEW

—I shall go to sleep but God in me remains awake, bringing my present problems to a successful conclusion, in divine order. /328

Another technique for raising self-confidence is to write out 15 times (or more) a favorite affirmation on suc- cess, confidence, and perfect results. This is really so, as I found it myself during a psychotherapy: writing has a healing effect on the psyche, which is why I developed the

concept of Life Authoring in the first place.

There is a difference between merely reciting an af- firmation or writing it down repeatedly. Writing has a cor- relation in the subconscious mind as impressing this pas- sive mind in us is a form of ‘writing’ on the subconscious

interface, thereby deeply affecting it in a positive fashion. The author explains:

By writing out words of confidence you help im-

plant the idea more firmly in your subconscious mind, which then works harder and faster to pro-

duce happy results. Affirmations are your strongest

confidence-builders. /330

One such affirmation the author offers is, for example:

‘Infinite wisdom guides me, divine love prospers me, and I am successful in everything I undertake.’ /331

She reports that a businessman discovered a self- defeating pattern in his life; every time he bought a stock it would go down for a while. He considered these times as ‘testing periods,’ which is of course a rather positive re-

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THE DYNAMIC LAWS OF PROSPERITY

gard upon something others would be helpless to confront. Now he used those times for affirming the foregoing af- firmation until he felt confident to hold on until the stock

price would rise, and would then realize a good profit.

In fact, this is an important point generally. Often in life, when we are firmly going in one direction, we feel there is an invisible pull in the opposite direction, as a disease worsens right before healing sets in and the night is dark-

est right before dawn. Why is that so?

It may have to do with the cyclical nature of life, the dualistic or dialectic principle, or however we may call it. The author, however, believes the reason for this strange mechanism is that going through such periods of ‘testing’

has the ultimate reason to even more strengthen our self- confidence for what has been tested or time-tested is stand- ing more firmly on its feet—which is why she insists that the best success affirmation simply is ‘Nothing succeeds like success!’

Another technique, already mentioned earlier in this review, is imaging; it can namely be used effectively for building a constant feeling of self-confidence. Still another way is building what Napoleon Hill called a ‘Master Mind Group:’ associating with self-confident people.

Finally, as a matter of cosmic resonance, calling forth the good in others will bring long-term positive growth also in the area of self-confidence. The author suggests to speak confidently of others and to praise them frequently. Speaking words of kindness uplifts others and helps them

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CATHERINE PONDER BOOK REVIEW

to become more successful. She gives the example of a

photographer who was producing photographic series of

prominent models in the fashion world. He used to raise

their self-confidence by assuring them of his confidence in

their brilliant performance before he ever took the photos.

This example inspired the author to generalize this experi-

ence and recommend us to praise others before they are

successful, not just after they have proven to be able, but

before, thereby activating their inner expectancy to be suc-

cessful!

Even without meeting the other person directly and

talking to him or her, the author affirms there is a method,

using once again divine telepathy, to do this by secretly

affirming that the other person shall be successful. She of-

fers an affirmation to this purpose:

—I have confidence in your god-given guidance and

abilities. I see you now with god’s rich help. Your success

is big, powerful and irresistible. It appears now. /336

The Prosperity Law of Persistence Catherine Ponder says that Jesus was describing the

power of persistence with a parable when he declared: ‘No

man, having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is

fit for the kingdom of God.’ (Luke 9:62)

In fact, Jesus addressed a man who wanted to follow

him but said he wanted to ask his family for farewell first.

And Jesus rebuffed him, as he rebuffed another with the

words ‘let the dead bury their dead’ (Luke 9:60). I think

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persistence has an element of the ‘eternal present’ in it. What Jesus seems to have disliked in those men was their attachment to family, emotional attachments and probably

also material attachments. Another of these attachments is the past. Many people are attached to their past and there- fore unable to move into free land, a new experience and a new way of looking at the world.

Jesus wanted them to get rid of these attachments in-

stantly; as one would say to a person who has the money to buy a car and sees exactly the wonderful car in a shop that he wants, and even gets a discount on the price, and then still tells the salesman he wants ‘to think about it.’

Persistence, in other words, is a quality looking straight

ahead, and facing challenges head-on, not looking back and trying to escape. As the author explains, it’s a ‘can do’ attitude. She writes:

There is nothing half-way, lukewarm, or half-

hearted about persistence. It is bold, daring, fearless.

It does not hesitate, but goes after what it wants, and keeps plugging until it gets results. /414

The one single Bible story in our religion class at high school I remember well because it greatly impressed me was the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel. Catherine Ponder writes that this story exemplifies the power and importance of persistence. Jacob vowed to the angel, ‘I will

not let thee go, except thou bless me.’ (Genesis 32:26). Not only did the angel bless Jacob but he also renamed him to

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CATHERINE PONDER BOOK REVIEW

‘Israel’ which means ‘Prince of God.’ Renaming a person after a spiritual initiation is an age-old custom and means a breakthrough of that person in their spiritual development.

This shows that persistence is not just needed in business, but as well in matters of spiritual development. In this con- text, it is important to see that failure is always temporary and typically a prelude to success—provided that the per- son considers failure not as the final end but persists!

Repeated failure is often the result of a wrong attitude toward life and prosperity, which is most often an attitude of hoarding and holding on, with selfish attachment, to things and people. But Ponder makes it clear that we can rebuild our financial world ‘from a single right attitude to

which we persistently hold.’ /419

I will end this rather extensive book review here not without mentioning once again how important tithing is for lasting success. A word is perhaps needed as to how to tithe. Ponder writes repeatedly in this and her other books

that we should tithe primarily to the source of our spiritual learning, which is for many people a church or other en- lightening organization. The tithe has to be send upfront every first of the month, in good faith that one’s financial means won’t suffer from giving 1/10 of it away, but will in

the contrary prosper more. Some people, after having reached a certain level of prosperity, double their tithe, tri- ple it, or even send away half of their fortune. Let us re- mind ourselves that Bill Gates did exactly that when he setup up with his wife the Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Catherine Ponder explains that in ancient times there was a rule how to tithe: the first tithe was to be sent to the priest of one’s church, the second tithe was destined for a

social purpose and the third tithe was for charity. She gives several examples in this book and in other books of hers that applying prosperity principles without tithing works only temporarily. This is quite an uncanny truth!

Most prosperity programs, as expensive as they some-

times are, teach the principles of right thinking, making lists, a wheel of fortune, applying the law of command, and image the outcome.

But most of those programs do not teach the secret of tithing. She writes that she has known a number of people

who after learning the prosperity laws were prospering suddenly, and sometimes dramatically for a certain while but then, astonishingly so, as they were not tithing the riches they had accumulated vanished off by and by, and they had to realize that their prosperity was not a lasting

one. Tithing is what makes the difference here. I have an- other example of this truth, and it’s a big example. It’s the Rothschilds.

Most people neither know how big their actual fortune was at the height of their prosperity, and how their attitude

was toward the old Jewish habit of tithing.

The fortune of the Rothschild clan by far surpassed that of Bill Gates, Rockefeller, Getty, Walton, Buffett or Carnegie. It was comparable only to the immense fortune of the Queen of England, but still higher, estimated to have

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CATHERINE PONDER BOOK REVIEW

been 400 trillion dollars! In an almost unknown biographi- cal book about the Rothschilds, by John Reeves and pub- lished in 1887, the truth is unveiled: the Rothschilds have

tithed regularly and very generously, and what is even more important, consistently, they gave away immense amounts of their fortune, and always without hesitating, even to people who would beg in the street, who wrote to them, who came to their houses and castles; they had a

tremendous sense of compassion and never sent anybody away.

While some of them could be picky for a simple coach fare, when meeting human hardship, they were showing deep humanity, which is perhaps the most important de-

tail—while hidden to many—regarding their legendary prosperity.

—John Reeves, The Rothschilds: The Financial Rulers of Nations, Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co., 1887

Another example comes to mind: Pablo Picasso. Picasso

has not only founded exemplary orphanages, one of which I visited in Saigon, Vietnam, back in 1986; he has also sent regularly sometimes big amounts of money to people who wrote to him in need and explained their hardships. And the fortune Picasso had later in life is legendary for an art-

ist; we might rightfully assume that it was the ever biggest fortune accumulated by a single artist!

And yet in his younger years, when his career really took off in Paris, France, he was a poor man, hardly having the means to heat his flat, sometimes selling a painting for

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a bread or burning it in the chimney because he could not afford to buy charcoal!

So please be reminded that giving really is the secret

motor of receiving for all in life is cyclic. Money is a form of energy and as such it must circulate. I have seen that over and over in my own life and there were phases when

I was holding on too tightly to my fortune, and during these periods I was regularly money.

So, to close this view, I would consider in agreement with the author that tithing is by far the most important prosperity secret!

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